If you ask us, working in social media is fun! It’s a chance to be creative, while helping brands strategically sell, grow and create impact. Plus, the demand for good social media management continues to climb. After all, as brands, we need to meet our customers where they are - and social media provides an awesome platform for connecting with our audience.
You might be a marketer with a passion for digital and social marketing. You might be a working professional looking to transition into a different role within your business. Or you might have your sights set on a career working in the ever-shifting social space. Whatever your position, we’re not surprised you're curious about working in social media.
But how do you go from digital-dabbler to paid social pro? Beyond posting to your platforms, there is plenty more you’ll need to consider when it comes to becoming an expert social media manager.
So, what should you expect? Here are some key areas to sharpen up before you step into a social media management role:
A successful social media presence starts with strategy. Winging it might have got you so far, but without goals, your efforts may fail to reap any long-term return. Strategy should align with your wider business goals. You need to have an understanding of your audience, what their needs are, where they interact and what kind of content is going to engage them best. Aligning content with events and trending topics, as well as sales and marketing initiatives and targets is important - so you’ll need to collaborate with wider business teams to ensure you’re all working towards the same goals. We schedule our client social calendars months in advance, with room for topical content, so with strategy comes good planning, foresight and visibility for the brands we work with.
Social media is a noisy place. You need content that actually creates cut-through. You might be a creative mind with some basic across-the-board skills, but largely, creating engaging, high-converting content takes a team effort. That includes good copy (you’ll need to refine your copywriting skills, or hire a copywriter), original imagery (it’s best to ditch stock imagery and use a professional brand photographer instead), good design (ideally you’ll have the skills and expert eye of an art director and a graphic designer to call on) and a videographer. As you can see, there’s a reason why we’ve built a whole team of pros here at The Social Shop!
Content also takes a critical eye, ensuring you’re always aligned with wider brand values and guidelines, and that you’re not potentially sharing content that may offend, exclude or polarise. And while we always advocate for planning, you’ll also need to be agile enough to respond to topical conversations, either within your industry or your community - that may require you to make quick judgements about where your brand stands.
Beyond social content for your feed, you will also need to consider what other content needs to align with your strategy - this could be blog content, email marketing or lead generating assets, as well as landing pages and website content that has been optimised for conversion. There’s no point directing an interested audience to a website that doesn’t offer a slick user experience and convincing copy!
Remember, connection is what social media is all about. It’s not enough to just post your content and leave your audience to it. Engaging with your audience takes time, and social community management should very much be considered an equal part of your strategy as the content itself. Your social feed acts like a shop front for customer care. Responding to enquiries and questions, engaging in conversations and managing potentially negative feedback are all a part of this role. Be prepared to also have some difficult conversations that you’ll need to handle with professionalism.
To reach a new audience, you may need to consider paid social marketing. No doubt you’ll have a budget to work within, so you’ll need to understand how to manage it, get hyper strategic about where that spend is going, and be ready to report back on that to your leadership team. Social media ads shouldn’t be a set-and-forget strategy, and the line between results and overspend can be a fine one to walk! Regular vigilance is required to ensure your ads are continuing to hit their intended target without blowing your budget.
Reporting and analysis
The great thing about social media is that your efforts are measurable. Measuring metrics can help you refine your social strategy and content plan. Analytics from your content can also help you get buy-in (and therefore budget) from the wider business to support your goals. A good platform that syncs data from across your profiles can be helpful so that you’re not wrangling data from multiple sources. With your reporting as guidance, you’re in a better position to see what’s working and what’s not really hitting the mark with your audience. With that in mind, stay versed in tools and tech that can support you. Like every industry, tools and best practice is ever-evolving!
Good social media management is equal parts creativity and strategic thinking. It’s easy to fall into the habit of just ‘ticking the boxes’ when it comes to content creation, but to really move the needle for your brand takes planning, and potentially some professional input from content collaborators. That’s exactly why we leverage a number of skills across our team here to get results for our clients!
If you’re keen to develop your skills across these parts of the role, our DIY package, including 1:1 mentoring sessions can support you in getting started, understanding best practice and giving you foundations for success as a social media manager - find out more about sharpening your social skills with us! For extra inspo, join us in Social School, our free online community where we share more tips and news to support you in your role as a social media manager.